A doctor raises the eyelids of one girl, showing the pinprick pupils that are the tell-tale sign of nerve gas poisoning.
The latest massacre of the innocents in Syria’s civil war took place in the early hours of yesterday morning. If the evidence of the video footage that emerged soon afterwards is to be believed, the victims were not shot or bludgeoned, but silently poisoned by chemical weapons.
The footage purports to show the aftermath of a series of attacks in the eastern suburbs of Damascus that claimed hundreds of lives. In the past, the evidence suggested that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on a relatively small scale, killing between 100 and 150 people – according to the US assessment – in a long series of attacks.
Yesterday’s incidents appear very different. Even on the lowest estimate of 400 to 500 dead, they would amount to the worst use of nerve gas since Saddam Hussein killed 5,000 Kurds in the town of Halabja 25 years ago. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)